HICKORY – Scoring seven runs over the final three innings, Asheville completed a three-game series sweep by beating Hickory 9-4 on Friday night in South Atlantic League (SAL) baseball at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The Tourists (47-49, 18-10 second half) hit three home runs and had nine hits in the victory to remain in second place in the SAL Southern Division, 1 ½ games back of Charleston (S.C.).
The Crawdads (41-57, 14-14) — falling for the seventh time in nine games — have dipped from first place in the Northern Division into a tie for third place with Greensboro.
Delmarva (Md.) leads the Northern Division after a 4-3 win on Friday over Augusta (Ga.), and Hagerstown (Md.), after beating Charleston (S.C.) 4-2 on Friday, is in second place and a half-game back of the Shorebirds.
Hickory continues its homestand on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. game against Greenville (S.C.), also in town for games on Sunday (5 p.m.), Monday and Tuesday (both at 7 p.m.).
On Friday night, a crowd of 2,925 watched a game of three hours, seven minutes, and it got away from the Crawdads at the end.
Hickory led 4-2 through six innings and was up a run after the Tourists scored a run in the seventh inning.
Asheville scored twice in the eighth inning, taking a 5-4 lead, and added four runs in the ninth inning.
Bobby Wernes had two hits to lead Asheville, driving in two runs. He hit a solo home run in the first inning, his fifth of the season.
Jacob Bosiokovic had two RBIs for the Tourists that included a solo home run in the seventh inning (his 12th of the year).
Manuel Melendez had three RBIs, and Max George hit a two-run home run – his ninth of the year – in the eighth inning for Asheville.
Tanner Gardner went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Ricardo Valencia had two hits, including a two-run home run in the fourth inning (his fourth of the year), to lead Hickory, which had five hits.
Matt Dennis (1-2), the second Tourists pitcher used, gained a win after working 1 2/3 innings in which he allowed one hit and struck out one. He threw strikes on 21 of his 26 pitches.
Reid Humphreys pitched the ninth inning for Asheville, throwing strikes on 13 of his 17 pitches, to subdue the Crawdads.
Reliever Christian Torres (1-2) took the loss for Hickory, going two innings. He gave up five hits, six runs (three earned), walked one and struck out two.
The Crawdads, a night after making five errors, made three on Friday night.
Click on the link below for Friday’s boxscore.